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Your Polling Place About Virginia Elections 2

Virginia onAir News

US election swing states: Virginia is for… Democrats?
New Statesman, Emily Tamkin, July 23, 2020 (Long)

The story of how the former Confederacy capital turned blue is one of demographic shifts, a Democratic political machine and Donald Trump.

The story of how Virginia went blue in presidential years is one of demographic shifts, a Democratic political machine and Trump. It’s the story of how a state’s voting patterns can change – and how politicians know all too well that they can change back again.

“Virginia is a blue state”, said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington.

Virginia’s economy is, compared to elsewhere in the country, “recession resistant. That makes it an appealing place for people to move when they’re thinking about their futures,” Farnsworth explained. People move from all over the country – and indeed all over the world – to live and work in Virginia.

Here are the new laws that take effect July 1
Channel 6 Richmond, Jake Burns, June 30, 2020 (Short)

After controlling both chambers of the state legislature and the executive mansion for the first time in a generation, hundreds of new laws passed by the Democratic controlled Virginia General Assembly and signed by Governor Ralph Northam (D) take effect July 1.

Northam signed more than 1,200 bills that cleared the General Assembly during the 2020 session.

Many of those bills are duplicates, commending resolutions, or technical tweaks to existing law. Although many Virginians might not see or know the direct impact, several bills will directly impact daily life and discussion in Virginia.

“We’re excited about what’s going to happen and what will become law at midnight,” said Del. Jeff Bourne (D-Richmond). “We are putting Virginia on the right side of history. Although, we may be getting on the right side of history a little late for some things.”

Kaine predicts win in effort to rename bases that honor Confederates
Virginia Mercury, Allison Stevens , July 13, 2020 (Medium)

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine is preparing for battle with President Donald Trump over renaming military facilities that honor Confederates — and he’s expecting to win.

In an interview with the Mercury, Kaine said he believes the GOP-controlled Senate would override a possible presidential veto of a defense policy bill that would begin a process to rename the facilities. Doing so would require support from two-thirds of those voting.

Republicans hold 53 seats — or 53% — in the U.S. Senate. Democrats hold 233 seats — about 54% — in the U.S. House.

“I think we need to put it on his desk,” Kaine said. “If he were to veto this bill, I think we would override it.”

If the bill becomes law, it would be a major victory for the movement for racial justice and equality, which has intensified in recent months.

Suburban voters like Schmiegelow represent an existential challenge for Virginia Republicans, who haven’t won a statewide election since 2009. They’ve lost control of the executive mansion, the state legislature, and a majority of the state’s congressional seats.

The latest blow came last week when almost 1,300 bills passed by the new Democratic majority in the General Assembly went into effect. Republican laws on everything from abortion to voter ID were wiped off the book.

Part of the problem for Virginia Republicans is the president, according to Shaun Kenney, the former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.

“The suburbs just do not react well to Donald Trump in the White House,” Kenney said. “There’s just no way of getting around that.”

Ralph Northam gives coronavirus update
PBS NewsHour, June 18, 2020 (53:30)
A Message from Governor Northam on Juneteenth
Governor Ralph Northam, June 19, 2020 (02:20)
Embattled Dems stockpile cash ahead of November
Virginia Mercury, Robin Bravender, April 28, 2020 (Medium)

Embattled Va. Dems stockpile cash ahead of November

WASHINGTON — Targeted Democratic incumbents from Virginia’s U.S. congressional delegation were padding their war chests as the election year kicked off.

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the landscape for politicians in Virginia and across the country as many have been forced to cut back on active fundraising and campaigning. But the most recent campaign finance reports show that Virginia Democrats who are expected to face the toughest reelection challenges this fall had stocked up more cash than their competitors by the end of March.

The Republican expected to face the toughest race — freshman Rep. Denver Riggleman — had less cash on hand than his top-raising Democratic opponent, although Riggleman has raised nearly twice as much during the election cycle.

Voting in Virginia

Warner offers FIRE Act as NDAA Amendment
Mark Warner, June 30, 2020 (07:35)
Virginia Democrats are making a mistake in denouncing redistricting amendment
Virginia Mercury, Roger Chesley, June 30, 2020 (Medium)

Just months before voters in the commonwealth choose whether to reduce the blatant gerrymandering that arises every 10 years during redistricting, many Virginia Democrats are now saying, “Never mind.”

Shame on them.

The process to get such a referendum before voters has been a long, tortuous one, with frequent setbacks because state lawmakers in the majority feared losing control of a rigged process. Republicans benefited in 2011, but Democrats, too, have rejected a fair drawing of district lines in previous decades.

When it comes to wielding power and putting your opponents in a bind, Democrats and Republicans are equal opportunity offenders. They’d rather choose their voters, instead of voters choosing them.

All of that was supposed to change following this year’s U.S. Census and the redistricting that follows in 2021. State lawmakers in the 2019 and 2020 sessions passed a measure setting up a 16-member, bipartisan commission to reconfigure the congressional and legislative lines.

Virginia Democratic Party urges voters to defeat redistricting reform amendment
Virginia Mercury, Graham Moomaw, June 24, 2020 (Medium)

The Democratic Party of Virginia is officially urging voters to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment to create a bipartisan redistricting commission that, if approved in November, would redraw the state’s political maps starting in 2021.

The proposal —  the compromise product of years’ worth of anti-gerrymandering advocacy — caused a major split among Democrats in this year’s legislative session, with most Senate Democrats strongly supporting it and most House Democrats adamantly opposed. Nine House Democrats joined with 45 Republicans to pass the amendment and send it to voters in a November ballot referendum.

The party’s resolution — adopted at its virtual convention over the weekend — is the strongest sign yet of how sharply many Democrats have shifted course after their elected legislators overwhelmingly supported the same proposal in 2019. That was before they took control of the General Assembly, winning the power to redraw the maps themselves under the state’s existing redistricting system.

US Senate – VA 2020 Election

Gade for Virginia - campaign ad
Daniel Gade, October 1, 2019 (02:02)
Daniel Gade Challenges Mark Warner to Five Debates
Daniel Gade, June 29, 2020 (Short)

Republican nominee for US Senate Daniel Gade is challenging Mark Warner to five debates. Virginians deserve to hear the difference between the tired ideas of a career politician and the new, fresh visions of a lifelong servant leader. Daniel Gade is demanding these 5 debates be spread throughout the entire Commonwealth, including Southwest, Tidewater, Richmond, Southside, and Northern VA.

“Virginians deserve to hear the difference between Mark Warner’s do-nothing career and a fighter who can actually get things done in the Senate for Virginians,” said Daniel Gade. “I am thrilled to challenge Warner to these 5 debates that will cover real issues such as affordable healthcare, quality education, well-paying jobs, individual liberty and much more. As a warfighter and a professor, I look forward to debating Warner on the battlefield of ideas.”

Senator Mark Warner's tuna melt atrocity
13News Now, April 23, 2020 (03:17)

US House District 2 – VA 2020

Scott Taylor vs. Elaine Luria Debate, 10/30/18
13News Now, October 30, 2018 (51:54)
Rep. Elaine Luria presses top Navy officials
13News Now, October 23, 2019 (15:45)

US House District 5 – VA 2020

A practicing physician, Cameron Webb returned to Charlottesville where he treats patients as a general internist, teaches students and serves as the Director of Health Policy and Equity at UVA’s School of Medicine.  Cameron is running for Congress to serve his community at this critical time. In Washington, he will be a fierce advocate to ensure opportunities for health and success for all Virginians.

Bob Good is running for Congress to bring the conservative principles of financial stewardship and respect for hard working taxpayers back to Washington. President Trump’s policies have delivered a growing, vibrant economy and we must ensure that our representatives back his agenda.


US House District 7 – VA 2020

Abigail Spanberger took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…When she saw partisan politics threatening the country she has worked so hard to protect, she knew it was her time to stand up for the people in the 7th District.

At the in-person convention in Caroline County on July 18, Nick Freitas, Delegate from Culpeper,
received 56% of the vote on the third ballot, outlasting five challengers in his bid to secure the GOP nomination in the one-time Republican stronghold that turned blue in 2018.

In the final round of balloting, Freitas topped Del. John McGuire, R-Goochland, who received 44% of the vote. The win for Freitas, who sought the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in 2018, sets up what is likely to be a closely watched contest with Spanberger in a swing district that includes eight rural counties and large swaths of suburban Chesterfield and Henrico.

Covid-19 and VA Governance

To understand the mind of a teacher, those of us who do other things for a living must attempt some mental gymnastics.

Let’s imagine a professional passion so acute that when the coronavirus shuttered classrooms, they pivoted with little warning or rehearsal to digitally link dozens of children from home and continue daily instruction remotely.

Close your eyes and comprehend a devotion to students so strong that you spend your personal money to supplement classroom supplies as eclectic as sanitizing wipes and Elmer’s glue, crepe paper and whiteboard markers.

Now, as days start shortening and summer bends toward autumn and a new academic calendar, imagine balancing your innate yearning for the classroom with a well-reasoned fear of a monstrously contagious, potentially deadly virus that medicine still can’t control and science doesn’t fully understand.

Finally, overlay that against the backdrop of political conflict and chaos that multiplies by the day.

Virginia prison system says active COVID-19 cases down to 22
Virginia Mercury, Ned Oliver, July 13, 2020 (Short)

The Virginia Department of Corrections says it’s down to 22 active cases of COVID-19 among inmates in the 40 prisons it operates around the state.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s secretary of public safety, Brian Moran, touted the figures Friday, which include six hospitalized prisoners and 16 still being held at various correctional facilities. He emphasized the latter number in a presentation to lawmakers.

“We have 16, let me repeat, 16 active cases in all of our correctional facilities,” he said during a joint meeting of the Senate’s judiciary and social services committees. “That’s out of 28,000 inmates, 40 correctional facilities. Sixteen — one six — active cases.”

Virginia is refusing to release information on COVID-19 outbreaks at poultry processing plants on the grounds of privacy concerns, despite a June decision to provide such data for long-term care facilities.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Mercury in June after Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration began releasing facility-specific data for nursing homes, the Virginia Department of Health said it would not provide the same information for poultry processing plants “in order to ensure that VDH is able to preserve the anonymity of individuals whose medical records have been examined during the investigation of COVID-19.”

“VDH is considering how to make the information you have requested available at the health district and/or regional level,” wrote VDH Deputy Commissioner for Governmental and Regulatory Affairs Joseph Hilbert in an email.

Neither a followup request to Hilbert nor an inquiry to the governor’s office about the justification for releasing such information for nursing homes but not poultry plants were answered.

Dr. Sterling Ransone is a family physician in Deltaville and current member of Virginia’s testing task force, a workgroup assembled in late April to boost the state’s once-sluggish COVID-19 test rates.

Twice now, in teleconferences, he’s heard what he described as “proclamations” from state officials on the number of days Virginia has gone without reported shortages of personal protective equipment.

“Quite honestly, that really concerns me,” Ransone said. “And each time, I’ve had to speak up, because the reason they’re not getting reported shortages of PPE is because we have been asked to reuse disposable equipment.”

Ransone has two N95 respirator masks, disinfected through one of the state’s Battelle decontamination systems, that he rotates throughout the week. At his office, surgical masks are reused unless they’re dirty or wet. Disposable gowns are gingerly removed and saved for future use.

Within a week after Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Henrico reopened its doors to new admissions, the nursing home accepted a handful of what medical director Dr. Jim Wright referred to as “unknowns” — residents who had been transferred from the hospital without being tested for COVID-19.

The facility, which had just weathered one of the deadliest nursing home outbreaks in the country, had established its own strict testing program for patients in response. When the newly admitted residents were tested onsite, one came back positive. Luckily, Wright said, Canterbury already had a separate quarantine unit set up for new arrivals. But he still described the positive result as a “pretty tense time” for the facility, which lost a total of 51 residents to the disease.

“I am very hesitant now to accept any patient who has not had at least one test,” he added. “You just want to know what’s coming through your door.”

A little more than a month after Gov. Ralph Northam implemented a statewide mask mandate, the Virginia Department of Health has fielded more than 3,000 complaints related to the order.

Follow-up, though, has been almost universally limited to “outreach and assistance,” according to VDH and more than a dozen local health districts that fall under the department’s jurisdiction. The agency has not pursued misdemeanor charges for violations or pulled a permit for any of the businesses it regulates. “Local health districts may have provided written or given verbal warnings, which we would characterize as education,” spokeswoman Marian Hunter wrote in a Tuesday email.

Multiple districts told the Mercury that there had been few occasions of businesses refusing to comply with the order. But many said that fielding and responding to the complaints have become a significant task for local health departments, which have fielded anywhere from “10 to 15-ish” complaints, in the case of Richmond-Henrico, to “close to 100 business-related Executive Order compliance complaints” in the Central Virginia Health District where most revolve around a lack of face coverings or inadequate social distancing, according to the district’s director, Dr. Kerry Gateley.

About Virginia Politics & onAir Hub

Virginia is located in the Southern region of the USA with Richmond as its capital. The Richmond General Assembly has 40 Senate members and 100 House of Delegate members. Virginia’s current political leaders are:

Governor Ralph Northam (D) since 2018
Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D) since 2018
Attorney General, Mark Herring (D) since 2018

Senior Senator Mark Warner (D) since 2008
Junior Senator Tim Kaine (D) since 2014

Lead onAir Chapter: @George Mason University
State Hub website:  va.onair.cc

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